7/7/2017 10:51:00 AM STAR Ratings for 2016 show local giving, revenue up
The Minnesota Gambling Control Board annually releases “Star Ratings” for organizations that run charitable gaming that generates revenue through bingo and pulltabs. The idea behind the state specially authorizing groups to raise money through regulated gambling, is to restrict access to gaming and also make sure the proceeds are going to charitable causes.
A few local licensed groups have improved their “Stars” up from four in 2015, to five stars, by increasing distributions of proceeds to what the state deems qualifying efforts. Scholarships, community projects, non-profit organizational grants and the like qualify as charitable distributions.
The charitable gaming license holder can also, as a qualifying expenditure, pay for people to work events or man the pulltab stations, pay space rent and cover certain administrative costs.
The only area organizations that are in the “Three Star” ranking and which could face sanctions-- are Rush City Sno Bugs and the Forest Lake Area Athletic Association. All other local charitable gambling groups have boosted donation efforts to achieve at least a Four Star level over the last year or two.
According to the Gambling Control Board the North Branch Hockey Association racked up the most receipts in 2016 with $3.8 million. The hockey group which originally came together as a charitable group for the purpose of building a hockey arena, has a rating of Five Stars.
Forest Lake Area Athletic Association is the second largest-grossing organization operating in the Chisago County area, at $3.7 million in 2016 gross receipts.
The next closest is Rush Lake Improvement Association, reporting gross in 2016 of $3.4 million. RLIA has a Five Star rating.
Chisago City traditionally sees its Firefighters Relief Association receipts in the two million range, and for 2016 this was on the high end at $2.8 million. Chisago City has a Four Star rating with the state.
In order, receipts drop off to $1.9 million each for the Forest Lake American Legion Post and Stacy-Lent Firefighters Benefit Association. Each of these have Five Star ratings.
The local youth recreation league LARA is next with $1.7 million, tied with Lindstrom Fire Relief Association. LARA has a rating of Four Stars and Lindstrom firefighters earned Five Stars for charitable gifting. The majority of spending of gross receipts goes to paying prizes.